Ascend Manufacturing one of 10 finalists in upcoming “SPIE Startup Challenge”

Ascend Manufacturing, which placed third in the inaugural “Ballard Innovation Award” sponsored by PYA, the power behind, is one of 10 finalists in the 12th annual “SPIE Startup Challenge.”

According to this news release, Ascend Manufacturing, founded by Justin Nussbaum, is one of 10 early stage start-ups from six countries that will  compete for a $10,000 top prize. The event is scheduled for January 25 during “Photonics West” which will be held in San Francisco.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves more than 258,000 constituents from 184 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library.

Nussbaum came to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region in 2018 when he was selected to participate in Cohort 2 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We spotlighted the then recent graduate of the University of South Florida and his plans for a new additive manufacturing system in this October 2018 article.

Ironically, the news release about the “SPIE Startup Challenge” came about the same time as Nussbaum posted this notice on social media: “Ascend Manufacturing is very happy to announce that after many delays due to the supply chain procurement process, we’ve begun the manufacturing of our next generation 3D printing system with assistance from our partner, Mesa Technologies, Inc. This system will be located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.”




Stay connected with us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Article ideas and other suggestions should be sent to Include the name and contact information (phone and email) for follow-up.